Pardon the term, but have you ever been called a networking ‘ask-hole’?
Someone who is always asking for a job; asking for an introduction to someone’s network, asking for favors…sometimes from complete strangers they just connected with on LinkedIn?
At some point, every job seeker has heard how important it is to network, but only a few have been told how. So most ask far more than they give. And anyone who is constantly asking runs the risk of being called an ‘ask-hole’.
Networking is not about ask-ask-give. It’s about give-give-give-give-ask!
Below are five simple things you could do today to become a give-first networker:
1. Build the Relationship First; Favors Will Come Later
>Before you start asking for favors, start building relationships first. Asking for anything too early in the relationship is like going on a first date and asking your date to marry you. In networking terms, it’s a huge turn-off.
Brian Tracy said, “The value of a relationship is in direct proportion to the time that you invest in the relationship.”
2. Don’t Ask for a Job; Ask About Them
When you first connect with someone, don’t ask them for a job. Ask about their career trajectory and success stories. (Psst…People enjoy talking about themselves.) Show them you are inspired by their stories, and are fully capable of listening.
Carlos Ghosn said: “Any job very well done that has been carried out by a person who is fully dedicated is always a source of inspiration.”
3. Be Respectful of Their Time
When you ask for a few minutes of their time, stick to the schedule. Do not prolong the meeting beyond the time they had committed to in advance. If they are so inclined, and the conversation is mutually-beneficial, give them the option of extending the time.
“Respect people who find time for you in their busy schedule.” Unknown.
4. Give of Your Time, Talent and/or Your Resources
There is always something you can do for someone, whether he or she is on the lowest rung of the organization, or is the CEO. Share your industry expertise; offer to help out on a project; send a congratulatory message on a recent promotion. All these giving efforts will showcase your brand and make you more attractive to decision makers.
Mentor others, before asking for mentorship.
In Benjamin Franklin’s words, “Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?”
5. Be Fully Engaged in the Conversation
Remember Jimi Hendrix’s wise words that “Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens”?
Listen attentively. Be fully engaged. Do not let your eyes wander around the room for your next catch. Do not take a quick peak at your mobile devices. Do not interrupt the conversation to finish the person’s sentence.
The term ‘ask-hole’ is certainly unflattering; I am cringing at its use. But if you were really described as such, you may have fallen into the misconception that networking (or merely connecting with people) is all about asking for favors.
Of course, you don’t ever want to be called an ‘ask-hole’. So ask yourself: “What’s the one step you can take NOW that will help you become a better giver?” Go ahead and take that one step now! Your job search depends on it.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Career Musings!
About the Author: Daisy Wright is an award winning certified resume strategist and career management coach known for helping mid-career professionals, managers and executives tell their career stories and get hired FASTER! She works collaboratively with clients to understand their needs and develop compelling resumes, LinkedIn Profiles, and other career marketing documents that differentiate them from everyone else. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.